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“Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.” Lady Bird Johnson
After over 100 years in the take-out business, the Madison Public Library continues to provide the community with access to information and entertainment. Public libraries are an investment made by communities. Using the money allotted to the Public Library by the city of Madison, the library’s Board of Trustees maintains the library building, buys the books and other material, implements programs like storytime and book discussions, and provides for the technology to carry out the library’s mission. For their annual investment in the Public Library taxpayers in Madison receive access to thousands of books, magazines, movies, recorded books. All that is required, as Lady Bird Johnson said, is interest.
And there was no lack of interest in 2010. The total number of items checked out of the library increased by 6% in 2010. While this increase was noticed in every area of the library’s collection, the DVDs had the largest percentage increase in 2010. Circulation of DVDs in 2010 was up 36%. Contributing to this increase is the expanded and more up-to-date movie selections in the library’s DVD collection, and the economic downturn which has encouraged more people to reach for a library card rather than a credit card or a wallet when selecting a movie or documentary to watch. Although it is not as dramatic an increase, more books were checked out in 2010, too, along with more audiobooks and videocassettes.
Growth was not confined to circulation. More children took part in storytimes and the summer reading program. The attendance at the book discussion groups increased, and, in general, the meeting room at the library was used more often.
The library’s public access computers are heavily used, and in 2010, we replaced three of the computers with newer models and increased the bandwidth of the Internet connection to provide faster connections for staff and patrons.
The wear and tear on the library’s furnishings is another indicator of how much the library is used. In 2010, the carpeting in the entry area and around the circulation desk was replaced. The foot traffic of the last fifteen years had worn it out. The upholstery on some of the chairs is being replaced for the very same reason--after fifteen years of nearly constant use, they are threadbare.
We are planning new services for 2011 including downloadable audiobooks and e-books. Once in place, this service will make it possible for library patrons to access a shared collection of books to download to their personal listening and/or reading devices anytime, day or night. Libraries have come a long way from their beginnings when the books were literally chained to the shelves and were available to only select few.
The Board of Trustees and the staff of the Madison Public Library invite and encourage everyone to take advantage of the services offered at the library.